Juan J. Morales


You could crunch me into bones and meat
and I would still rather track you
across the continent
than live in a city with nights broken of stars.

I can’t help searching
the mud and snow for your footprints, scat,
and tufts of mystery hair
under lonely stretches of timber.

I’ve been patient but your lurking silhouette
still doesn’t skulk between the shadows
that should be there. The only smell
is the fresh kill I carry to lure you

out in the dankest forest,
crashing through underbrush, bellowing out
your calls, and knocking against the trees
to tell you I’m losing faith.

Only the coyotes reply. I’m asking you
please silence the crickets, snap a tree in half,
and tell me I am just like you,
part of a bustling that no one believes in.


Juan J. Morales was born in the U.S. to an Ecuadorian mother and a Puerto Rican father. He is the author of the poetry collections The Siren World, Friday and the Year That Followed, and the forthcoming, The Handyman’s Guide to End Times. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Pank, Post Road, The Malpais Review, Green Mountains Review, and others. He is a CantoMundo Fellow, the Editor of Pilgrimage Magazine, and an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where he directs the Creative Writing Program and curates the SoCo Reading Series.